Saturday, July 28, 2007
Great BIG Wall
I can now understand why you can see the Great Wall from outer space. If you climb high enough, you can reach up and touch the satellites as they pass over. Our climb this morning was blessed with “cooler” weather (still seems hot to me, but could have been worse, I guess) and our guide mentioned that climbing the wall turned people into “heroes”. The place was packed, so the assent was slowly paced, with all climbing and sweating and heavy breathing at the same time. A group from Antioch joined us for the day, as they are here on business for the church. We had 100 minutes to hit the stairs (which have indents into the stone after I’m guessing years of tourists making the trek) and several made it to the highest point of this part of the wall. I got as far as the spot in the photo, waiting to catch my breath and hoping to make photos of Baylor folks on the climb down. No adventure of mine is without incident as I ended up getting flashed while on my descent – as a female climber was headed up, she paused long enough to use the bottom of her shirt to wipe her brow. Of course this Chinese woman was about a million years old too. My memories of the wall may be a bit scarred.
After lunch (which included a visit to a host of shops – and NO bartering the price! We were told by our guide Tony all prices are fixed, which is not typical of China markets. But, well… maybe we can take a little off… Like perhaps the jade cat for roughly $24,000 USD. Sorry Franci, I didn’t get this for you.) we visited the Ming Tombs (as if we didn’t get in enough walking already) and toured the gardens and tomb. It was a bit more leisurely paced and did get to enjoy the four-star toilet there. It did live up to it’s rating!
It is now night here and after nearly getting killed just crossing the street to check on Sunday service time at the oldest Catholic church in China located across from the hotel, it is time to prepare for another day. We are flying out to Shanghai tomorrow and the start of our week in the classroom.